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Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 18:21 GMT

India provide the acid test

By Richard Pybus
Pakistan coach

There is no hiding from the truth that our performance against Holland - in keeping with most our games at the World Cup - was disappointing.

With the exception of the opening stand and a sensible middle-order contribution from Yousuf Youhana there was very little from the batsmen.

And even though we defended a total of 253 by 97 runs our fielding display was flat.

We simply can't afford to put in such an unfocused performance against India.

Inzamam has endured a rough run of form

I know people are building up Saturday's India v Pakistan game at Centurion - and to fans in the respective countries it is an enormous game for all sorts or reasons - but to us it means just one thing: four points.

We cannot drop any points from our last two games, including Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

The frustrating thing is that we have such a gifted squad but we are finding it hard to channel those talents.

On paper we have a stronger bowling line-up than India but that will count for nothing if we do not stick to the basics and get our line and length right.

They have some masterful batsmen who will feast on anything wayward.

The important thing will be for our bowlers to get on top and stay there.

As for the batting, all I can say is that is that we should be patient and wait for Inzamam-ul-Haq to come good.

Just as every top player does at some stage during a long career, he is going through a lean trot - ironic because he has shed 12kg and is in the best shape of his life.

He simply needs time in the middle, longer than his last two innings at any rate which have brought him two ducks in three balls.

I've already said that bad luck follows out-of-form batsmen and I'm afraid Inzy got a bad decision on Tuesday because he got a little tickle onto his pad which the umpire missed.

All he needs is confidence, but certainly he is happier batting at number four where he has spent most of his career.

He did not like going in at three against England.

The one thing I would say in the players' favour is that the outfield in Paarl, where we played Holland, was very slow and our total was probably 30 runs lighter than it would have been elsewhere.

And the ploy of playing five frontline bowlers, with Abdur Razzaq coming in at three, worked well.

Otherwise, all I will say is that we have a few tricks up our sleeves for India's batsmen.

They play a certain way, having been brought up on subcontinental pitches where you can play through the line, so we will be looking to exploit that.

Beyond that, it's all about finding consistency - something we are yet to hint at.

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Related to this story:

Have Your Say on Pakistan (04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say )
Have Your Say on India (04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say )

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